An armed robber unhappy with the money he took from an Albuquerque smoke shop went back into the store and was shot and killed by an armed employee.
The crime, and the successful gun defense, has other shops in the area considering arming their stores as well.
The now-deceased criminal stormed into Oasis Smoke Shop and Hookah Lounge Sunday demanding money. After the shop’s employees handed the cash over, the man left.
But he came back again, and according to shop owner Kane Ouenis, he had something else in mind.
“His intentions were not just to take the money,” Ouenis told KRQE. “I am not sure why he came back, we are not sure why he came back, he came back, from the looks of it, extremely, extremely angry just looking to hurt people. He came in to hurt whoever was in that store at that moment.”
It was during the robber’s second trip that an employee who had brought his gun to work retrieved it from his backpack. The employee fired the weapon and killed the culprit.
According to KOB 4, a former employee showed up at the scene said that after some burglaries the shop’s owners had encouraged staff to bring guns.
Ouenis said he did not necessarily encourage his employees to bring guns to work, according to KRQE, but he was not opposed to the idea either, as long as the weapons were properly licensed.
It is unclear from the news reports if another owner encouraged employees to bring guns to work.
Regardless, the incident has other shop owners thinking.
Another owner in the smoke shop business told KRQE that after the robbery he was considering getting a gun for protection too.
“That could have been us,” said the owner, who asked to remain anonymous. “It definitely makes you think. It makes you think about your safety, your employees’ safety and making the right decisions to protect yourself.”
He said that despite having a security system and full surveillance, “that doesn’t necessarily protect you right there in that moment.”
“We don’t want to be caught off guard or anything like that,” Duke City Vapors Manager Jonathan Velarde told KRQE. “I just wish I never have to use it. It’s just there in case. It’s just peace of mind for everybody who works here, knowing you can protect yourself.”
The employee who defended Oasis and his co-workers was questioned by police following the shooting but was released.